Blackhawks deal Bickell and Teravainen to Hurricanes


In a cost cutting move, the Blackhawks dealt Bryan Bickell and Teuvo Teravainen to the Hurricanes in exchange for the 2016 second round pick acquired from the Rangers and a 2017 third round pick.

Basically, the trade is all about the Hawks dumping Bickell’s remaining $4.5 million salary. Part of their last two Stanley Cups, his production tailed off after Chicago rewarded him with a big contract. In large part, that was due to his clutch performance in 2013 when he notched nine goals and eight assists for 17 points during the Hawks’ second championship in 2013. But the grinding style he plays resulted in playing just 25 games and registering two assists this past season. He was demoted to Rockford of the AHL and didn’t participate in the NHL playoffs.

Unfortunately, getting out of his contract came at a price. With the Hawks needing to clear room so they can re-sign key restricted Andrew Shaw this summer, they parted with former first round pick Teravainen. A talented player, the 21-year old play-making Finn moves to Raleigh where he’ll get the chance for a top six role on the rebuilding Canes. He helped the Hawks win their third Cup since 2010 last year when he posted four goals and six helpers in 18 playoff games.

In 78 contests this past season, Teravainen achieved career highs across the board in goals (13), assists (22) and points (35). He played mostly on the third line. With a new team that should continue to improve, Teravainen probably is a good candidate for a breakout in 2016-17. He’s entering the final year of his rookie deal. Supremely skilled, he should be a fixture on one of Carolina’s top two lines.

Chicago gave away a very talented player with tremendous upside. Personally, I wouldn’t have done it. The grinding style Shaw plays is taxing. How much are they going to pay him? We’ve seen it before. Where teams overpay core players out of loyalty. In this case, the Hawks sacrificed Teravainen. They also did it because they’ll need the money to pay expected Calder winner Artemi Panarin the following summer.

If they didn’t have so much money committed to established stars Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane, Marian Hossa, Duncan Keith, Brent Seabrook and Corey Crawford, they wouldn’t be in this situation. Don’t forget they dumped Brandon Saad last summer for Artem Anisimov, who they signed to an extension worth $4.55 million on average thru 2021. They also sacrificed Marko Dano, a 2016 first round pick and 2018 conditional pick to rent Andrew Ladd. He’ll leave for greener pastures in July.

These are big time risks made by Chicago GM Stan Bowman. It’s the price of success in a salary cap era. At least the Hawks got their three Cups. Other teams like the Rangers went as far as they can with their core. Now, there are all sorts of rumors that GM Jeff Gorton has made almost everyone available in a desperate attempt to shed salary and change the roster.

Either every move you make works out and you win like the Penguins did with Phil Kessel thanks to changing coaches and trading for Trevor Daley and Carl Hagelin. Or you come close as the Rangers did in 2014 and 2015 while risking the future thanks to Glen Sather giving away so many draft picks and prospects. They better re-sign Keith Yandle.

It is what it is. The cap era can turn a successful franchise into a bad one pretty quickly. That’s the dilemma facing the Rangers. As for the Hawks, unless they can fix their thin blue line so reliant on Keith, Seabrook and underrated Niklas Hjalmarsson, they’re headed in the wrong direction. Games played and age catches up even to the best.

If you don’t believe so, look what happened to Henrik Lundqvist. He’s still making $8.5 million (cap hit) over the next five seasons. Plus the current situation with fading defensemen Dan Girardi and Marc Staal. Summer starts on June 20. The NHL Draft is June 24-25 in Buffalo. Then comes the madness in July. Get ready.

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About Derek Felix

Derek Felix is sports blogger whose previous experience included two stints at ESPN as a stat researcher for NHL and WNBA telecasts. The Staten Island native also worked behind the scenes for MSG as a production assistant on New Jersey Devil games. An avid New York sports fan who enjoys covering events, writing, concerts, movies and the outdoors, Derek has scored Berkeley Carroll basketball games since 2006 and provided an outlet for the Park Slope school's student athletes. Hitting Back gives them the publicity they deserve. From players, coaches to administrators, it's a first class program. In his free time, he also attends Ranger games and is a loyal St. John's alum with a sports management degree.
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